MLS honors rookie Martino, ref TerryPosted: Wednesday October 16, 2002 2:18 PM
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that Columbus Crew midfielder Kyle Martino has been named the 2002 MLS Rookie of the Year.
MLS also announced that that Kevin Terry, a veteran of seven MLS seasons, is the league's Referee of the Year.
Martino, a native of Westport, Conn., receives the award after starting 15 of his 22 appearances for the Crew during his first season in professional soccer. The University of Virginia product, who finished the year with 2 goals and 5 assists, harnessed his ball skills and composure to give the team yet another young offensive threat.
"It is truly an honor to win this award," Martino said. "It would not have been possible without my teammates and coaches and I am grateful for their support throughout the season. My goal now is to continue to improve as a player and help Columbus win a championship."
When he took the field for the first time on opening day in a match televised nationally on ABC, it was clear that Martino was not just another rookie. Despite his slight build, the Project-40 developmental player displayed personality and creativity, making daring runs and slick moves that belied his age and experience. The former high school player of the year was selected No. 8 overall by the Crew in the 2002 SuperDraft and quickly earned his place in the lineup.
"I couldn't be happier for Kyle," said Crew head coach Greg Andrulis. "He is having a tremendous rookie season and is very deserving of this recognition. He has stepped in and played a vital role in our success this season, while playing a very important and demanding position."
In the year that Tab Ramos, the greatest American No. 10 of all-time, called it a career, U.S. fans saw the emergence of a player who could one day be capable of filling the shoes of his longtime idol. First up for the 21-year-old Martino, however, is helping the U.S. Under-23 national team qualify for the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece.
The MLS Rookie of the Year is awarded to a first-year professional judged to be the best performer in the league. Only players without a previous season of professional experience and/or who are less than a year removed from the completion of their college/high school eligibility can win this award.
Other finalists for the honor were Brad Davis of the MetroStars and Kelly Gray of the Chicago Fire. Martino was selected the winner in voting by MLS coaches, general managers, players and members of the Professional Soccer Reporters Association.
Terry will be first to officiate two MLS Cup finals
Terry, a native of London, has been the man in the middle for a total of 77 MLS regular season matches since the league's inaugural year in 1996, including 11 games in 2002. Terry's selection for the award ends the four-year reign of former MLS referee Paul Tamberino, who retired at the end of the 2001 season and became a competition consultant for the league office.
A FIFA referee since 1997, Terry has officiated several international Matches, including World Cup Qualifiers, and will become the first to referee two MLS Cup championship games when he takes the field for MLS Cup 2002 in Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday for the match between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution. Terry was also the man in charge for MLS Cup '98 between the Chicago Fire and D.C. United.
Terry began his officiating career when he was still in high school in the Cleveland suburb of North Olmstead. He became a professional referee in 1986 for the Major Indoor Soccer League and has since officiated professional, indoor, youth and senior amateur soccer. Terry continues to officiate professional indoor soccer and has been a part of every competition sanctioned by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
A former professional player, Terry moved to the U.S. in 1974 at the age of 15. He played indoor professional soccer for the Cleveland Force (MISL -- 1979-'82). He later played on two outdoor teams: the Cleveland Cobras and Oklahoma City Stampede (USL -- 1983-'84), refereeing and coaching at the same time.
Over the last 17 years, Terry has also run a public warehousing and storage company in Carrolton, Texas -- BSP Warehousing -- together with his father, Peter.
The Referee of the Year Award recognizes the referee whose performance is judged the best overall by MLS head coaches, general managers, players and the Professional Soccer Reporters Association. Referees Brian Hall and Kevin Stott were also finalists for the honor.